The little-known player scored a game-winning buzzer-beater Wednesday night against the Dallas Mavericks.
Unsurprisingly, that play was a highlight of his young career and got every Lakers fan – and player – cheering.
— NBA (@NBA) December 16, 2021
Ever since he was signed by the Lakers in the summer, many NBA experts and analysts have said that Reaves was one to keep an eye on and had more talent than many other rookies in the league.
Who is he and where did he come from and what lies ahead for the 6-foot-5 guard?
A Family Of Talent
The 23-year-old Reaves comes from a family that lives and breathes basketball.
His mom and dad played at Arkansas State, although Reaves would later turn down an offer from that school.
His mom was an all-conference forward and his father was a point guard at ASU, where he is tied for third for most assists in team history.
Additionally, his brother Spencer played at Central Missouri too.
Yes, Reaves has a family of basketball talent but he is the first to go pro.
Yet, it wasn’t easy for him to land on a team.
Reaves played for Wichita State from 2016 to 2018 before transferring to Oklahoma where he had to sit out during his junior year due to NCAA transfer rules.
While at Oklahoma, he averaged 18.4 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 4.6 assists a game.
In March, Reaves declared himself for the 2021 NBA Draft.
Reaves has said that he has been underrated his entire life and that was no different at the draft.
Undrafted And Unbothered
Reaves initially went undrafted in the summer but then signed a two-way contract with the Lakers on August 3, 2021.
Just a month later, in September, he was signed to a standard NBA contract.
He made his professional debut in October, scoring eight points off the bench in a 115-105 loss against the Phoenix Suns.
Reaves has already been sidelined because of injury so he has only played 17 games.
But the team knew that there was a lot of promise with Reaves, especially when it came to his outside shooting.
Reaves made a name for himself as a dangerous three-point shooter and that’s exactly what the Lakers need from him.
Sure enough, he landed five of his six three-point attempts in the explosive game against the Mavericks.
But Reaves also shows a lot of promise with his defensive skills too.
If you take a close look at the Mavericks game from the other night, you can see Reaves all over the court and effectively keeping up with and defending star Mavs players like Jalen Brunson.
Again and again, Reaves was smothering the offense and forcing contested and difficult shots.
His shot will understandably get the attention, but Austin Reaves played great defense all night. This kid’s gonna be around for a long time. pic.twitter.com/f8dLNAspSd
— Narc Gasol (@GotEm_Coach) December 16, 2021
This means that not only is Reaves a star shooter, he is also becoming a defensive powerhouse too.
There is still room for growth and many are saying that if Reaves adds on a few pounds, he will be one of the most intimidating and imposing shooting guards in the league.
The good news is that Reaves has two things that a breakout star needs: talent and youth.
Reaves has both of those but he also has a third: potential.